Star Wars Pez

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A Star Wars Pez is a Pez candy dispenser themed after the Star Wars movies, and is one of the company's most prominent merchandising deals. Twenty types have been released on the market from 1997 to 2005,[1] among the many collectibles spawned by the franchise.[2]

The extreme interest of marketing executives in all things Star Wars has spawned a scholarly interest in the "materializing fantasy media" such as these PEZ dispensers.[3] It has also led to several museums to feature such Stars Wars memorabilia in their exhibits and/or gift shops, as well as media attention on this fairly odd phenomena.

In museum exhibits and gift shops[edit]

In recent years, several museums around the United States have featured Star Wars Pez in their exhibits and/or gift shops. These products are displayed and exhibited because they are classic Americana.[4] Despite the dispensers' "popularity and cult status," the manufacturer's original factory in Austria does not give tours or sell fancifully-shaped memorabilia.[5] Only in January 2012, this group of dispensers became prominently displayed at the company's new North American headquarters in Orange, Connecticut: one travelogue wrote, "The company has been making the cartoonish plastic heads for 60 years now, representing everything from Star Wars to U.S. presidents to the Geico chameleon."[6]

The Clayton Historical Museum, in Clayton, California opened a new exhibit on the history of candy manufacture in January 2012 that featured these confectionery dispensers.[7]

Pez with Star Wars characters have been featured prominently in the Star Wars Museum in Maryland.[8][9] The Star Wars Pez dispensers are pictured on a fan website, which describes them as "some Candy Heads from 1980".[10]

The Pacific Science Center sold Pez at a popular exhibit about "Star Wars".[11]

These branded dispensers are among the "top sellers" at the gift shop at the Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia, outside San Francisco.[12] This museum also displays "a whole lot of Star Wars Pez,"[13] in Plexiglas displays.[5] This "unofficial shrine" to the collectibles is unaffiliated with Pez Candy, Inc.,[4] and the manufacturer sued the Burlingam museum in 2009 for copyright infringement.[14][15] There was a notorious, giant Pez sculpture of C-3PO and Chewbacca locked in a slash fiction kiss.[15][16] As of early 2012, this museum remains open. The sales manager at a major San Francisco hotel recommends that tourists visit the museum, noting "you have to check out the Star Wars section."[17]

Another Pez museum in Easton, Pennsylvania also has featured prominently their obligatory Star Wars memorabilia,[18][19][20] ("Of course, we had to include the Star Wars Pez Dispensers"), including an oversize Darth Vader figurine.[21] As of early 2012, this museum appears to have closed to the public.[22]

Other influences[edit]

Carrie Fisher's "Princess Leia Pez dispenser" is one of the "merchandising horrors" she discusses in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking.[23]

These candy dispensers are featured prominently in the 2010 Emmy Award-winning fan film, Star Wars Uncut.[24][25]

Star Wars Pez has a gateway drug-like effect for some young collectors. One fan of Pez dispensers started her huge hoarde with Star Wars figurines at the age of three.[26] Another fan calls Pez dispensers generally "a 'gateway drug' to hardcore collecting".[27] Pezheads shopping for new dispensers frequently place "Star Wars" first on their shopping lists.[28]

Chronology of releases[edit]

Five Star Wars Pez were released in 1997:

Four Star Wars Pez were released in 1999 "in advance of the May 19 premier of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace":[29]

Three Star Wars Pez were released in 2002:

Fourteen Giant Pez were released in 2005 to "commemorate [the new] Star Wars movie":[30]

Pez also released some standard-size dispensers in 2005[31]

Pez released in 2009:[32]

Pez released in 2012 (before the release of the 3D re-released of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace :[33]

Four limited edition crystal Star Wars Pez were released in 2015:

  • Crystal Vader
  • Crystal Yoda
  • Crystal C-3P0
  • Crystal R2-D2

Pez were released in 2016:


  1. ^ Nina Chertoff and Susan Kahn, "Star Wars", Celebrating Pez (Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006), 87.
  2. ^ Ryder Windham, "Toys and Games", The Ultimate Visual Guide to Star Wars (DK Children, 2007), 136.
  3. ^ Dou, Cookie (February 1, 2012). "Q&A: Turning Fantasy (Media) into Reality with Professor Bob Rehak". Swarthmore Daily Gazette. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Kiger, Patrick (n.d.). "How PEZ Works". How Stuff works website. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Asturias, Corinne (March 13–19, 2003). "Rite of Pez-age: Museum of Pez Memorabilia". Metro (San Jose, California newspaper). Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  6. ^ Karge, Anthony (January 29, 2012). "Road Trip: PEZ's New Visitor Center: Check out the just-opened visitor center at the U.S. headquarters in Orange". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  7. ^ Hartlove, Denisen (January 9, 2012). "Clayton is sweet on candy exhibit". Clayton Pioneer. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  8. ^ Matt Lake, Mark Moran, and Mark Sceurman, Weird Maryland, p. 137, 138 (2006 Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.), ISBN 978-1-4027-3906-4, found at Maryland at Google Books. Accessed February 2, 2012.
  9. ^ "The Star Toys Museum, Inc". Reader's Advice. n.d. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  10. ^ "Star Wars Museum, images from April 2009". April 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Zier, taryn (March 23, 2011). "Clayton A Parent's Review: "Star Wars" exhibit at Pacific Science Center". Seattle Child website. Archived from the original on 2011-09-08. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  12. ^ Cairns, Becky (January 8, 2012). "PEZ dispensers get respect at museums". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  13. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (November 15, 2007). "Savoring Pez's sweet history". CNet News. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  14. ^ Doctor Popular (July 1, 2009). "Pez Suing Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia". Laughing Squid website. Retrieved February 2, 2012. Original source available at Archives of Inside Bay Area.
  15. ^ a b Xeni Jardin (July 6, 2009). "Pez Candy Inc sues Museum of Pez Memorabilia for copyright infringement". BoingBoing website. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  16. ^ Beale, Scott (July 6, 2009). "C-3PO & Chewbacca, Together At Last". Laughing Squid website. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  17. ^ "San Francisco Bay Area Museums". San Francisco Crowne Plaza website. n.d. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "Colorful PEZ museum captures Crayola crowd". USA Today. October 17, 2003. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "PEZ: Candy dispensers fill new Pennsylvania museum, Free Lance-Star, October 25, 2003, p. E-1. Found at Google newspapers. Accessed February 2, 2012.
  20. ^ "Roadside Attractions in America," found at Infoplease, n.d. Accessed February 2, 2012.
  21. ^ Beale, Scott (November 2007). "Easton Museum of Pez August 15, 2007". Project Absurd website. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  22. ^ Easton Attractions, found at Planetware website Archived 2008-01-19 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 2, 2012.
  23. ^ Smith, Tim (February 2, 2012). "Wishful Drinking makes rough landing at the Hippodrome, but still flies". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  24. ^ Acuna, Kirtsen (January 27, 2012). "Here's What 'Star Wars' Would Look Like If Made By Fans". Business Insider. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  25. ^ Juan F. Marcelo (January 24, 2012). "Nueva versión de Star Wars IV creata (in Spanish) por los aficionados de la saga". Internet. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  26. ^ Ripley, Dan (November 20, 2010). "Collectors converge at Children's Museum". Dan Ripkley's Antique Helper. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  27. ^ "A Collection a Day #54 – Pez dispensers," posting of August 2, 2010. Found at Cool and Colelcted blog. Accessed February 3, 2012.
  28. ^ Andre Pope, post, "South Carolina's Largest Garage Sale", July 23, 2010. Found at The Digitel Myrtle Beach. Accessed February 3, 2012.
  29. ^ "New 'Star Wars' Dispensers Make Their Pez-ence Known"[dead link] (April 9, 1999) and Robert L. Jamieson, Jr., "May the Pez Be with You Chewy on This: 'Star Wars' Characters to Land at Candy Store Near You", Seattle Post-Intelligencer (April 7, 1999).
  30. ^ "Giant Pez dispensers commemorate Star Wars movie (All Candy Expo Official 2005 Product Preview)", Professional Candy Buyer (01-MAY-05).
  31. ^ "Pez - Collector's Corner". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Pez - Collector's Corner". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Pez - Collector's Corner". Retrieved 22 December 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peterson, Shawn (2001). Collectors Guide to Pez: Identification and Price Guide. Krause Publications, 2001.

External links[edit]